English majored students' difficulties and expectations in learning written translation at dong thap university

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MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING DONG THAP UNIVERSITY FOREIGN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT  NGUYEN THI HONG THAM BUI THI HUYEN TRAN ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS’ DIFFICULTIES AND EXPECTATIONS IN LEARNING WRITTEN TRANSLATION AT DONG THAP UNIVERSITY B.A THESIS Degree: Bachelor of Arts Dong Thap, 2013 MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND TRAINING DONG THAP UNIVERSITY FOREIGN LANGUAGE DEPARTMENT  NGUYEN THI HONG THAM BUI THI HUYEN TRAN ENGLISH MAJOR STUDENTS’ DIFFICULTIES AND EXPECTATIONS IN LEARNING WRITTEN TRANSLATION AT DONG THAP UNIVERSITY B.A THESIS Supervisor: PHAM VAN TAC, M.A Degree: Bachelor of Arts Dong Thap, 2013 iv TABLE OF CONTENT Statement of authorship ................................................................................................. i Acknowledgement................................................................................................................................. ii Abstract ................................................................................................................................................. iii Table of content..................................................................................................................................... iv Introduction ................................................................................................................... 1 1. Motivation for the study ............................................................................................ 1 2. Aims of the study....................................................................................................... 3 3. Subject and scope of the study .................................................................................. 3 4. Significance of the study ........................................................................................... 4 5. Organization of the thesis .......................................................................................... 4 Chapter 1: LITERATURE REVIEW ............................................................................ 7 1.1 Definition of translation .......................................................................................... 7 1.2 The important of translation .................................................................................... 9 1.3 Types of translation ................................................................................................. 11 1.3.1 Word for word translation ........................................................................... 11 1.3.2 Literal translation ......................................................................................... 12 1.3.3 Faithful translation ...................................................................................... 12 1.3.4 Semantic translation ..................................................................................... 13 1.3.5 Adaptation .................................................................................................... 14 1.3.6 Free translation ............................................................................................. 15 1.3.7 Idiomatic translation..................................................................................... 15 1.3.8 Communicative translation .......................................................................... 16 v 1.4 Strategies for translation .......................................................................................... 18 1.5 Some useful techniques for translation.................................................................... 28 1.5.1 Addition ....................................................................................................... 28 1.5.2 Omission ...................................................................................................... 29 1.5.3 Replacement ................................................................................................. 29 1.5.4 Transposition ................................................................................................ 30 1.5.5 Expression .................................................................................................... 31 1.6 The factors influencing translation process ............................................................. 32 1.6.1 Influence of the mother tongue .................................................................... 32 1.6.2 Words and choice of word meanings ........................................................... 34 1.6.3 Grammatical structure .................................................................................. 35 1.6.4 Context ......................................................................................................... 36 1.6.5 Characteristic of language ............................................................................ 37 1.7 Common errors in written translation ..................................................................... 41 1.7.1 Word order .................................................................................................. 41 1.7.2 Syntax/ Grammar errors ............................................................................... 42 1.7.3 Vocabulary errors ......................................................................................... 45 1.7.4 Spelling/Punctuation errors .......................................................................... 50 1.7.5 Culture errors................................................................................................ 52 Chapter 2: METHODOLOGY ...................................................................................... 54 2.1 Research questions .................................................................................................. 54 2.2 Research participants: .............................................................................................. 54 2.2.1 The researcher: ............................................................................................ 54 2.2.2 The subjects .................................................................................................. 54 2.3 Research procedure ................................................................................................. 54 2.4 Data collect instruments .......................................................................................... 55 2.4.1 The questionnaire: ....................................................................................... 55 vi 2.4.2 The interview questions: ............................................................................. 56 Chapter 3: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION .................................................................. 58 3.1 Results ..................................................................................................................... 58 3.1.1 Result collected from the questionnaire ....................................................... 58 3.1.2 Result collected from the interview questions ............................................. 76 CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION.......................................................................... 80 REFERENCES .............................................................................................................. 89 APPENDIX ................................................................................................................... 91 vii LIST OF TABLES Table1: The students‟ interest in studying written translation………………………...58 Table 2: The reason why students study translation…………………………………..59 Table 3: The students‟ opinions about the usefulness of studying translation……….60 Table 4: Kind of text that students feel difficult to translate…………………………61 Table 5: The biggest challenges that students have to face when translating a passage from English to Vietnamese ………………………………………………..….62 Table 6: The biggest challenges that students have to face when translating a passage from Vietnamese to English………………………………………………..….63 Table 7: How students will do when they encounter a new word in a translation text…………………………………………………………………………65 Table 8: How students prepare for new lesson before class…………………………..66 Table 9: What students will do after they finish their translation…………………….67 Table 10: What do students do to improve their translation skill……………………..68 Table 11: Kind of text students usually practice translation at home…………………69 Table 12: The amount of time students usually spend on studying translation (as selfstudy) …………………………………………………………………………..71 Table 13: Things have a great influence on students‟ interest in translation…………72 Table 14: The topic which students are interested in………………………………….73 Table 15: The students‟ opinion about the influence of teaching method……………74 viii STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP We guarantee that the thesis entitled “English major students‟ difficulties and expectations in learning written translation at Dong Thap University” is the result of our own work. All the statistics as well as the results collected from the data collection instruments are truthfully reflected by English major students at Dong Thap University when they first study written translation. The research reported in the study was approved by Dong Thap University. Dated: April 20th, 2012 Nguyen Thi Hong Tham Bui Thi Huyen Tran ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS It is a great pleasure to thank everyone who helped us write this thesis successfully. First and foremost, we would like to express our gratitude to our supervisor – Mr Pham Van Tac for the valuable guidance and encouragement. He greatly inspired us to work on this thesis. Our thesis cannot come to end without his effort to read it again and again to find out the problem and support us in all stages of the research and writing this study. In addition, we are grateful to all the professors of the Foreign Language Department of Dong Thap University for teaching and providing us with a good environment to study the BA thesis. We owe sincere and earnest thankfulness to all the students of English class 2011 who provided us valuable information by completing the conveying questions as well as answering interview questions. Finally, an honorable mention goes to our families and friends for their supports on us in completing this thesis. Thanks for all! Nguyen Thi Hong Tham Bui Thi Huyen Tran English 2009A x ABSTRACT Translation is a new subject for the students of English major at Dong Thap University. There are two forms of translation: written translation and spoken translation. At Dongthap University, written translation is taught for the students of BA English Class from the beginning of the second year. Because translation is still new and strange for their first time learning, most of the English major students still have difficulties in learning this kind of subject, especially the students of the second year from BA English class (2011-2015 curriculums). This study was conducted to find out the students‟ difficulties as well as their expectations when they begin to learn written translation in order to make suggestions that can partly help them overcome these obstacles in studying this course. Besides that, the study also aims at making some suggestions as a useful reference helping adjust learning and teaching method to get a better result in learning and teaching process. The research methods used in this study are the questionnaire- a list of questions to find out the difficulties that students usually face and the interview questions which used to meeting students‟ expectations in learning the subject. 1 INTRODUCTION 1. Motivation for the study No one can deny the importance of language in the process of conveying information. We all know that language plays an indispensable role in people‟s life and social development. However, exactly how many languages are there in the world? The most extensive catalog of the world‟s languages, the ethnologic organization, whose detailed classified list currently includes 6809 distinct languages. It‟s, therefore, really necessary to get the purpose of the whole development and interaction. The appearance of a common language, which can be seen as the second language that all people around the world can use to exchange ideas with each other in order to meet the demand of the global standards in the today‟s world, is really pressing. In this background, English - a universal language at present can be used as the unique tool satisfying this demand. The role of English is more and more asserted, especially in the booming age of information and technology. English can be considered as the prevailing language by the way it dominates every domain and maybe the only language that truly links the whole world together. The other languages may be important, yes, but they are only important for their temporary values and they cannot replace English as an international language in such the way that all people around the world can use to communicate among countries. We again cannot deny the important of communicative purposes. Without communication, there is no way to express thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Furthermore, the business among countries cannot carry out, so how can the countries as well as the whole world‟s economy develop Without English, people cannot understand each other more in the process of diplomatic relation and economic cooperation and many other fields in today‟s era when the country tend to integrate for the whole development. We cannot list how much benefit that English brings for us. Its beneficial is unlimited. Therefore, studying English is a good way to contact with the huge world and approach a boundless source of information. Also, if we want to survive on this economic developing era, we ought to 2 master English as a demand of job‟s requirements. Today, when every country from the world overcomes consequences of economic crisis and has a problem with a big numbers of unemployment, every person needs to push his career forward. By that way, it is impossible to revalue the importance of English. Its knowledge can get one‟s dream job in any international company, earn more money and use computer more effectively, because most computer programs are in English, too. However, just knowing English is not enough. Sometimes, a person who can speak, listen and read English does not mean he or she understands it carefully. One more problem that we have to face here is the necessary of translating skills. When Viet Nam becomes one of the members of World Trade Organization, it has more and more requirements for Vietnamese especially students to have expert translation skill to meet the demand of integration into the huge world economy and to exchange our culture with other friendly countries. Nowadays, more and more contracts, emails, news, etc. are on English also, so it is necessary to master translation to translate documents more exactly in order to avoid regrettable misunderstanding. However, to master translation is not easy, so not almost all learners can avoid mistakes. When translating English into our mother tongue, it is not only translating the words we are reading but also the meaning and the overall purpose of the text as a whole. This can be very difficult, even for those who are fluent in several languages. As learners, the researchers assume that almost all learners who begin to study written translation will meet many difficulties because it is so new and strange for their first time contact, and there is no exception for students majoring in English at Dong Thap University. Understanding their difficulties parallel with meeting their expectations can help them so much in overcoming these obstacles in learning process and create favorable conditions for the study course. This is the reason we carry out this research with the hope that the study will be a useful reference helping improve translation skill as well as understand students‟ difficulties in learning written translation subject. Therefore, 3 students have a suitable project to adjust learning and teaching method to get the best effective result through the students‟ expectations. 2. Aims of the study This thesis was done with a view to find out students‟ difficulties in learning written translation in order to orient students who begin to study this subject in good manner of study. The study also aims at understanding the students‟ expectation in learning the subject and then suggesting some possible solutions to overcome difficulties as well as satisfy their expectations to improve and adjust both learning‟s style and teaching method. 3. Subject and scope of the study - Subject: English majored students‟ difficulties and expectations in learning written translation at Dong Thap University. - Object: the English majors‟ students who begin to study written translation at Dong Thap University. They are the second year students in BA classes (2011-2015 curriculum) and (2011-2014 curriculum). Translation is a new subject for the students of English major at Dong Thap University. There are two forms of translation: written translation and spoken translation. At Dongthap University, written translation is taught for the students of BA English Class from the beginning of the second year. Because translation is still new and strange for their first time learning, most of the English major students still have difficulties in learning this kind of subject, especially the students of the second year from BA English classes (2011-2015 curriculums) and (2011- 2014 curriculums). This study was conducted to find out the students‟ difficulties as well as their expectations when they begin to learn written translation in order to make suggestions that can partly help them overcome these obstacles in studying this course. Besides that, the study also aims at making some suggestions as a useful reference helping adjust learning and teaching method to get a better result in learning and teaching process. 4 4. Significance of the study Understanding the students‟ difficulties and their expectations in learning written translation, the thesis will be a useful reference with the solutions suggested which help the teachers recognize their students‟ requirements as well as expectations in studying the subject. Since there, having a suitable adjustment in teaching method as well as teaching material to satisfy the students‟ need, which is believed to bring a good result in studying. Furthermore, it is a strong hope that the study will be a useful reference helping improve translation skill for not only the second year students majoring in English at Dong Thap University but also all Vietnamese people who feel interested in the job as a translator and really want to become an expert translator. 5. Organization of the thesis This thesis consists of the following parts: INTRODUCTION Chapter 1: LITERATURE REVIEW 1.1 Definition of translation 1.2 The important of translation 1.3 Method of translation 1.3.1 Word for word translation 1.3.2 Literal translation 1.3.3 Faithful translation 1.3.4 Semantic translation 1.3.5 Adaptation 1.3.6 Free translation 1.3.7 Idiomatic translation 1.3.8 Communicative translation 1.4 Strategies for translation 5 1.5 Some useful techniques for translation 1.5.1 Addition 1.5.2 Omission 1.5.3 Replacement 1.5.4 Transposition 1.5.5 Expression 1.6 The factors influencing translation process 1.6.1 Influence of the mother tongue 1.6.2 Words and choice of word meanings 1.6.3 Grammatical structure 1.6.4 Context 1.6.5 Characteristic of language 1.7 Common errors in written translation 1.7.1 Word order 1.7.2 Syntax/ Grammar errors 1.7.3 Vocabulary errors 1.7.4 Spelling/Punctuation errors 1.7.5 Culture errors Chapter 2: METHODOLOGY 2.1 Research questions 2.2 Research participants: 2.2.1 The researcher: 2.2.2 The subjects 2.3 Research procedure 2.4 Data collect instruments 2.4.1 The questionnaire: 6 2.4.2 The interview questions: Chapter 3: RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 3.1 Results 3.1.1 Result collected from the questionnaire 3.1.2 Result collected from the interview questions 3.2 Discussion CONCLUSION AND SUGGESTION REFERENCES APPENDIX 7 CHAPTER 1: LITERATURE REVIEW 1.1 Definition of translation Translation has been various defined. The following definitions have been selected because they are really typical in some sense; and they can partly raise the issues, which we are going to pursue in detail later. Translation is a transfer process, which aims at the transformation of written source language text into an optimally equivalent target language text, and which requires the syntactic, the semantic and the pragmatic understanding and analytical processing of the source language. (Wilss, 1982) Translation is the expression in another language (target language) of what has been expressed in one language (source language), preserving semantic and stylistic equivalences. (Bell.R. , 1991). Translation is the replacement of a presentation of a text in one language by a representation of an equivalent text in a second language. (Bell.R. ,1991). For example, the Vietnamese sentence “Chỉ khi nào thầy giáo cho phép thì sinh viên mới được vào phòng.” can be translated into English as “Only if the teacher has given permission are students allowed to enter the room.” The author continues and makes the problems of equivalence very plain. Text in different languages can be equivalent in different degrees (full or partly different), in respect of different levels of presentation (in respect of context, of semantics, of grammar, of lexis, etc.) and at different ranks (word-for-word, phrase-for-phrase, sentence-for-sentence). Translation is the transmission of a thought expressed in one language by means of another language. The language used to express the thought directly is called the 8 source language, and the language used to translate that thought is called the target language. (Tu Anh, 2005). In Vietnamese-into-English translation, the Vietnamese is the source language and the English is the target language as in the following example: The source language: “Người bắt đầu học ngoại ngữ luôn luôn gặp khó khăn ngay từ bước đầu.” The target language: “Beginners of foreign language always meet difficulties from the outset.” In contrast, in English-into-Vietnamese translation, the English is the source language and the Vietnamese is the target language as in the following example: The source language: “Due to ill management and protection, forest resources have, in recent years, been seriously destroyed.” The target language: “Trong những năm gần đây, do quản lí và bảo vệ kém, tài nguyên rừng bị tàn phá rất nghiêm trọng.” Translation is rendering a written text into another language in a way that the author intended the text. (Bui Tien Bao and Dang Xuan Thu, 1997). “Translators are concerned with the written texts. They render written texts from one language into another language. Translators are required to undertake assignments, which range from simple items, such as birth certificates and driving licenses, to more complex written materials, such as articles in specialized professional journals, business contracts and legal documents”. (Bui Tien Bao and Dang Xuan Thu, 1997). Translation, ultimately, by dictionary definition, consists of changing from one state or form to another, to turn into one‟s own or another‟s language. (The Merrian – Webster dictionary, 1974). Translation is a change of form. When we speak of the form of a language, we are referring to the actual words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, etc. 9 The forms are referred to as the surface structure of a language. It is a structural part of a language, which is actually seen in print or heard speech. In translation, the form of the receptor or target language replaces the form of the source language. But how is this change accomplished? What determines the choice of form in the translation? 1.2 The importance of translation Even with the most up-to-date and sophisticated communication system, we can never know how many languages man used today in the world; let alone how many languages man has used during the course of his development. Some sources say there are two or three thousand languages being used in the world, but some others say the number may be as large as eight thousand. What a habit man has that of speaking tongues! Thus, he offers himself difficulties and obstacles. Since communication within often, one community is not enough, certainly. There has a great number of times arisen a situation in which some individuals are unable to understand the words or expressions of some others. This phenomenon creates a barrier to understand whenever man tries to communicate across a great distance of space or across a great interval of time. Something has to be done to overcome this restriction. One way to cope with the restriction is for individuals to know the foreign language. However, this is not the final solution because apparently no individual in the world can know all the languages in use. The best polyglot so far knows only about twenty-five languages. Let us make a comparison between the number 25 and 8000; it is a very numerous distance between the languages that this polyglot can use and the number of languages that exist in the worlds. Still people want to read what other people want to write and what people say, translation and interpretation may be considered as the most universally accepted solution for surmounting the obstacles. Thus, there is a need for professional translators and interpreters. (Bui Tien Dao and Dang Xuan Thu, 1997). 10 Stuart stated that translation as the product of language learning projected onto an interlanguage framework. Therefore, translation skills should be evaluated according to the state of learners‟ interlanguage in any state of its development. (Stuart Campbell, 1980). Translation is a real-life, natural activity and increasing necessary in a global environment. Many learners living in either their own countries or a new one need to translate language on daily basic both formally and informally. This is even more important with the growing importance of online information. Translation can support for the writing process, especially at lower levels. Research has shown that learners seem able to access more information in their own language, which they can then translate. (Stuart, Campell, 1980). The research totally agrees with the above ideas. When the human language appears, translation becomes necessary and significant. Imagine that one day you have a trip visiting a green and beautiful oasis. Unfortunately, you get lost from your group and you have not done any research about this oasis before; you do not know any information about the people as well as their language and many other things related to this place. At that time, a crowd of inhabitants appears, and you are excited and happy to say “Hello” to them with a friendly face. Suddenly, they bit you. You fail to understand anything and try to escape this place. Later, when you spend time doing research to find out what “Hello” means in this oasis, you realize that the word “Hello” in this oasis sounds like “I will destroy you!”. On a serious note, translation is one of the most critical jobs in modern society. Translation becomes more and more important when all countries in the world have exchanged and cooperated in variety aspects like culture, education, business, etc. However, no one has enough ability to translate; therefore, we need to have translation. In order to meet the demand of this multilingual world‟s whole development, it is required an appearance of a common language that all of countries in the world can 11 use. Nowadays, English has been used as the universal language all over the world. In our country, English play an indispensable role in the economic aspect. Especially when Viet Nam has become member of World Trade Organization, the demand to have expert translation is necessary. It is true that all of the contracts, emails, agreements, or conventions, etc, in English need to be translated exactly and effectively to avoid some regrettable misunderstandings. 1.3 Types of translation 1.3.1 Word-for-word translation: Here the source language (SL) word is translated into another language by their most common meanings, which can also be out of context at times, especially in idioms and proverbs. - The following are the characteristics of this approach: + SL word order is preserved. + Words are translated by their most common meanings, and out of context. Ex: He is a big liar.  Anh ta là một lớn nói dối. Or: Mời bạn về nhà tôi chơi. Invited friend about my house play - This kind of translation used for: + Information about SL + Language learning (mechanics of language) + Pre-translation process of difficult text in order to gain the sense of meaning
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